1999
DOI: 10.1177/0164027599213005 View full text |Buy / Rent full text
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Abstract: To determine why older people are optimistic, realistic, or pessimistic on self-rated health relative to standard medical health measures, 48 persons older than age 65 were interviewed in an in-depth, semistructured format. Comparisons were made between optimists and poor-health realists, both of whom have serious health problems, to discover the ways in which these groups develop their disparate self-ratings of health. When asked about the meanings they attach to health, respondents variously referred to topi… Show more

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“…Other studies have shown a disparity between SEH and DEH of between 27% and 46% (5 Á/8,23). The results of some of these investigations accord with the present study in showing that overestimation by participants of their own health occur more frequently than underestimation (7,23). One study has produced the opposite result (6), while others have found a more or less equal distribution between ''health optimists'' and ''health pessimists'' (5,8).…”
Section: Concordance and Discordance Between Seh And Dehsupporting
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“…Other studies have shown a disparity between SEH and DEH of between 27% and 46% (5 Á/8,23). The results of some of these investigations accord with the present study in showing that overestimation by participants of their own health occur more frequently than underestimation (7,23). One study has produced the opposite result (6), while others have found a more or less equal distribution between ''health optimists'' and ''health pessimists'' (5,8).…”
Section: Concordance and Discordance Between Seh And Dehsupporting
“…The researchers find that adults' primarily reference is their physical health status, such as the absence or presence of disease [24], and functional health status [25], such as the ability to perform household chores or personal care. And although adults also reference health-related behaviors and social-psychological resources [26][27][28], the responses are similar in that they tap relatively proximate factors determining health perceptions. Likewise, some researchers use a gold standard such as mortality [29] or physician-assessed morbidity [1] to assess the criterion validity of SRH, but these conceptual linkages are meaningful only if SRH is a spontaneous health assessment rather than an enduring selfconcept.…”
Section: Discussionmentioning
“…Elders who are health optimists and perhaps who concomitantly have a greater degree of spirituality might use social comparisons to justify their health appraisals and normalize their physical symptoms by attributing them to old age rather than illness. 35 In addition, spirituality might act to potentiate a common belief of older adults that they are exceptions to the aging process and that their health is superior to their age peers. 36 There were several limitations to our study.…”
Section: Discussionmentioning